UAE’s First Vertiport: Pioneering Advanced Air Mobility


The inaugural vertiport for aerial vehicles in the UAE has received operational clearance. Such moves will assist in the development of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) technology, while also supporting functions like passenger embarkation, disembarkation, and battery charging.

By Melissa Cyrill

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) just announced its approval of a vertiport for flying vehicles. The decision made by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) signals the UAE’s dedication to pioneering innovative mobility solutions and advancing autonomous technologies within the transport sector.

Designed to facilitate seamless take-off and landing of flying vehicles, the inaugural vertiport will serve as a base for passenger pick-up, drop-off, and battery charging. More than just a functional facility, authorities hope it will showcase the latest advancements in autonomous transportation technology and position the UAE at the forefront of global innovation in this rapidly evolving field.

The announcement of the vertiport’s operational approval was unveiled at the DRIFTx event – held from April 25-26, 2024, at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

The DRIFTx is a global platform for advancing smart, autonomous, and sustainable mobility across air, land, and sea. Supported by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and Abu Dhabi’s Smart and Autonomous Vehicles Industry (SAVI) cluster, the event showcases the latest advancements in urban mobility, fostering expert discussions, collaboration, and innovation in the field. The SAVI cluster was announced in Masdar City on October 13, 2023.

Earlier, the GCAA had laid the groundwork for the regulation of vertiports through the introduction of the world’s first national regulation on the subject in March 2023. This regulatory framework provided the necessary foundation for the development and operation of vertiports, paving the way for this groundbreaking accomplishment.

This achievement demonstrates the GCAA and industry commitment to accelerating advanced air mobility in the UAE. It underscores our proactive approach to publishing supporting national regulations and laying the groundwork for vertiports’ safe and efficient integration into our urban infrastructure. This milestone represents a first step towards unlocking the full potential of advanced air mobility and fostering innovation in the transport industry. – Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the GCAA

Recent investor interest in UAE’s advanced air mobility market

Boeing’s Aerospace Xelerated program – run in partnership with the UAE’s Tawazun Council – invests in software startups focused on developing advanced air mobility (AMM) capabilities in the region. Last year, the program selected 11 digital services companies that work on solving problems faced by the aerospace industry.

More recently, in 2024, ADIO and Multi Level Group (MLG), a prominent fintech entity in the MENA region, joined forces in a strategic collaboration to advance the growth of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) technology in the UAE and neighboring areas. In tandem, they inked a trilateral pact with EHang, a Chinese eVTOL developer, to set up its regional base in Abu Dhabi.

Another player, Joby Aviation, Inc., has signed a multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Municipalities and Transport – Abu Dhabi (DMT), the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED), and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi). This MoU paves the way for Joby to establish and expand air taxi services in Abu Dhabi and beyond. The agreement encompasses support for developing a comprehensive air taxi ecosystem, including training, infrastructure, flight operations, and potentially establishing a manufacturing presence in Abu Dhabi. It also opens up possibilities for inter-emirate air taxi services.

Such moves underscore the collaborative efforts between regulators and key stakeholders within the UAE’s transportation and technology sectors. The understanding is that strategic partnerships are essential to driving progress and innovation besides boosting business activities related to manufacturing, flight operations, research and development (R&D), as well as training and maintenance services.

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